Trade ministers of 21 Asia-Pacific economies agreed on Saturday to urge the WTO to resume negotiations for new global trade rules by next month, expressing particular concern over lack of market access for agriculture products. \n"This meeting has given a very important push" to the Doha round of WTO talks which collapsed in the Mexican city of Cancun last September, US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick told a news conference after a two-day ministerial meeting in Pucon of the APEC forum. \nThe ministers in a statement urged all WTO members "to intensify their efforts in coming weeks to agree by July on the key issues that will provide a clear way forward for the Doha negotiations." \nThe APEC economies control nearly half the world's trade and their joint statement was seen as a catalyst for pushing the Doha round forward. \nA major concern among the ministers was market access for agricultural products, which remains the biggest obstacle in current WTO negotiations, although there has been some recent movement from developing countries. \n"Agricultural market access is lagging behind export subsidies and domestic support," the APEC ministers said. They called for "special attention to be given to finding a way forward." \nThe US, the EU, Japan and South Korea have been blamed by developing countries for using subsidies to restrict their markets to exports. The complaint by developing nations over what they consider unfair agricultural subsidies totaling some US$300 billion paid by rich nations was at the center of the impasse in the talks in Cancun. Developing economies were also accused of erecting market barriers to imports. \nWTO chief Supachai Panitchpakdi, who briefed the ministers, said some APEC economies also had not made a clear stand on market access for agriculture products. However, he declined to name them. \n"Even though we have different perspectives on this, there is a need now to come out with a framework on agriculture market access," Zoellick said. \nThe ministers in their statement sought a "special commitment" from WTO members for abolishing all forms of agricultural export subsidies within a target date. \nThe US and Europe have lately offered concessions on export subsidies and asked the developing nations to also make equally generous offers. \nAnother flashpoint in WTO negotiations which seemed to have been eased in Pucon were the so-called Singapore issues -- trade facilitation, cross border investment and competition, and transparency in government procurement. \nThe ministers called for only trade facilitation to be included as an item for negotiation in the WTO instead of all four issues to be included in the Doha Round.
POOR INTERNAL CONTROLS: Insurance Bureau Director-General Shih Chiung-hwa said the company is expected to get back on track while its chairman is suspended The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$939,415) for a reckless investment that endangered its solvency, and suspended its chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) for poor supervision. The penalty is the second-highest in a single case after Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) was fined NT$30 million in September last year and its chairman Du Ying-tzyong (杜英宗) suspended for two years, the commission said. In three rounds of special and regular examinations conducted since last year, the commission found that Shin Kong Life had given too much power to an asset and liability management committee
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Sony Corp has cut its estimated Play Station 5 (PS5) production for this fiscal year by 4 million units, down to about 11 million, following production issues with its custom-designed system-on-chip (SOC) for the new console, people familiar with the matter said. The Tokyo-based electronics giant in July boosted orders with suppliers in anticipation of heightened demand for gaming in the holiday season and beyond, as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has come up against manufacturing issues, such as production yields as low as 50 percent for its SOC, which have cut into